Kobold Press

Harrowing Haunts: A History of Haunts

Illustration for the ballad Young BeckieA History of Haunts follows the career of Otto Geist from relatively unknown trapsmith to the leading authority on haunt manifestation.

Journal Entry #1

Today was a glorious day! I encountered my very first haunt, and even though the bleeding walls and faint sobbing were somewhat disturbing—I am not ashamed to admit that I fled Lord Cauton’s wine cellar with utmost haste—I could see beyond the blood and dread. I’ve seen the future of trapsmithing. If a haunt can catch me unaware, then thieves won’t stand a chance.

Journal Entry #5

I’ve completed my research on haunts. There are some documented cases that provide hints on how the are created, but apparently, I am the only one that wants to create a haunt on purpose. When I suggested it to Maester Welhant as something I have an interest in, he abruptly ended our meeting and informed me that he couldn’t help me further. I think the way forward is to engage in practical experimentation…

Journal Entry #7

We have found a deserted farm and claimed it as our base of operations. I have claimed the farmhouse as my laboratory, and the old barn has been turned into a makeshift holding pen. The men grumble about not having a roof over their heads, but that is why they brought tents. I have high hopes that our search for research specimens will soon yield results. An old trapper informed me that goblins frequent the nearby woods.

Journal Entry #14

This experiment has been a complete and utter failure. It just cannot be done, it seems. I’ve done things to these goblins. Wicked, terrible, some would say evil things. I’ve brought pain, despair, suffering, and still… nothing. All that effort, all for naught. Not a single manifestation. There are several documented cases where only a single death was required to trigger a haunt. One death! I’ve killed dozens of goblins and nothing. I am beginning to suspect that goblins were a terrible choice in source material.

Otto’s Abandoned Farm

A depilated farmhouse stands alone on a low hill. An old barn stands nearby. A Knowledge (engineering) or Profession (carpenter) (DC 13) check reveals that the barn was remodelled into a makeshift prison.

Entering the barn triggers the holding pen haunt.

The Holding Pen (CR 3)

XP 800
CE haunt (10-ft.-by-20-ft. area)
Caster Level 3th
Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear the creaking of wood, the shuffling of many feet, and in Goblin: “Not me, not me,” a sentence that is repeated again and again)
hp 10; Weakness slow (manifest at initiative rank 0); Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day;
Effect When this haunt is triggered, the affected area is filled with the stench of excrement, sweat and palpable fear. All creatures in the area of effect are targeted by the crushing despair spell (DC 16).
Destruction Burning down the barn and consecrating the area destroys the haunt.

The farmhouse is abandoned. A steep staircase leads down to the cellar, and a stuck, simple wooden door at the bottom of the staircase bars further progress. It requires a break check (DC 13) to open. Once the door is opened, it reveals a dark cellar with a low roof. On the far wall, a set of manacles dangles limply. The area near the manacles is deeply stained; a Heal check (DC 13) reveals that blood caused the stains. Entering the cellar is quite safe, leaving it triggers the frustrating failure haunt.

Frustrating Failure (CR 5)

XP 1,600
CE haunt (10-ft.-by-15-ft. area)
Caster Level
5th
Notice
Perception DC 15 (to hear a litany of curses)
hp
10; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 hour;
Effect
When this haunt is triggered, the manacles attached to the wall levitate into the air. Dust swirls around the manacles, forming a Small twisting form. The creature leaving the cellar is affected by a confusion spell (DC 16).
Destruction
The haunt can be destroyed by removing the manacles from the wall and melting them down. The cellar’s stains need to be washed away with holy water.

(This post is Product Identity.)

9 Replies to "Harrowing Haunts: A History of Haunts"

Shane Smallwood

March 15, 2011 at 3:02am

Nice work. Going with a deliberate act to try and create a haunt gives it an additional creepiness. And the fact that its goblins (not something that I usually have sympathy for) works nicely as well.

James Thomas

March 15, 2011 at 8:05am

Creepy Maurice. I really like the story and this looks like another first class haunt. *switches on Pett-o-meter* [PING!][PING!][PING!] a ’3′ on the Pett Scale. :) Now, if we feed in details from Journal Entries 10-13… [PING!][PING!] that’s ’5′! I would shudder to read them myself. Readers would need to view the ‘director’s cut’ of this article for details. Well done again!

GJ Faux

March 15, 2011 at 8:17am

In the description of the abandoned farmhouse the word should be dilapidated not depilated. Unless it is on of those hairless farmhouses, in which case I apologise.

Kobold Quarterly

March 15, 2011 at 10:24am

A hairless farmhouse is somewhat horrifying. If only because it would be surrounded by hairy farmhouses.

Xellos

March 15, 2011 at 12:00pm

I like the flavor in this one a great deal. This must be why we beware the ides of March. ^_^

Darkjoy

March 16, 2011 at 2:04am

@GJ: Good point, were it not that the farmhouse was constructed from hairy oaks. The tiny hairs that cover the oak are poisonous, so most oaks are shaved clean before they are used in construction.

Hairy Oak Spores
Type poison, inhaled; Save Fortitude DC 10
Frequency 1/minute for 4 minutes
Effect 1d2 Con damage; Cure 1 save

@James: Ahw, I was sure this was going to get more than 3 pings. The other journal entries would push this beyond PG 13 :-)

Mark Arvidson

March 16, 2011 at 2:15pm

I second more journal entries as we follow Herr Geist in his quest. Each more and more harrowing, until, perhaps Herr Geist finally goes off the deep end and becomes his own haunt?

Xellos

March 16, 2011 at 3:15pm

I read elsewhere someone suggesting this entry would make good flavor for adventurers in the Carrion Crown AP. Sounds reasonable to me. ^^

Coiffure the Manageable

March 20, 2011 at 9:29am

I’m a hair farmer, so, obviously I live in a hair farm house. Once in a while a stray lock will spring up on the house, but I never depilate because that would kill the roots. I simply shave it and make it part of my hairy harvest.

I’d like to make it clear that hairy farm houses and hair farming in general isn’t creepy, well, except for the smell… from the sweat glands…

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